Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Glenn Beck: Joplin doesn't need the government's help

One of the ironies of our American way of life is that so many people who are struggling to make ends meet listen and lend credence to spoiled millionaires telling us that we don't need the government.

Even when something out of the ordinary happens, such as the May 22 tornado that slashed through my city of Joplin, an event that cries out for a helping hand from our local, state, and federal governments, those millionaires, sitting safely in their board rooms, country clubs, or television and radio studios, capitalize on the misery of their fellow man to continue to make their point.

The latest is the soon to be ex-Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck, who takes the news reports of the generosity of people across the United States to Joplin, as a sign that there is no need for government aid- the people of Joplin can fend for themselves.

Thanks to the resilience of the human spirit, that generosity has played a large role in Joplin rising from the rubble and getting a head start on what promises to be a long recovery process. But anyone who thinks that this painstaking process can be accomplished without the aid of government and the taxpayers' money, is either a far right wing demagogue, a charlatan, or in Glenn Beck's case, both.

In a few short decades we have gone from being a nation that uses its great wealth to secure equal rights for all of its citizens, a comfortable existence and excellent health care for its senior citizens, a free public education for all, and a helping hand for those in need, to a nation that places a few extraordinarily wealthy individuals and special interest groups on a pedestal, bending over backwards to do whatever we can to make sure these people do not have to pay their fair share in taxes.

After all, the argument goes, if these "job providers" have to pay taxes they won't feel comfortable enough to create jobs. And that must be true, since their taxes have been slashed over and over again, with no jobs created, but then again, who can blame them, as long as they still have to pay a penny in taxes, they are not comfortable enough to hire anyone. That has to be true, since I listened to all of the candidates at the Republican presidential forum in New Hampshire Monday night as they insisted that we need to cut taxes even more.

And now we have Glenn Beck saying Joplin doesn't need the government's help and Eric Cantor saying Joplin isn't going to get the government's help unless some domestic program is cut to cover the cost.

When we talk about the land of the free, that does not refer to the price of billionaires and millionaires conducting business here.

When we talk about shared sacrifice, it is not a one-way street that limits the sacrifices to those who can least afford them.

Yes, the city of Joplin has a proud, independent spirit, and we plan to do everything we can to help ourselves get back on our feet. That is an American trait, through and through. But we are not too proud to accept help from the government.

The government, after all, is the people. Surprisingly, those who use that statement the most, seem to understand it the least. This is a country where we provide a safety net for those in trouble, where we offer a helping hand to those who are struggling and realize that government, elected by the people and serving the people, and not just a privileged few, is the cornerstone of our democracy.


KE said...

Thank you. It needed to be said, and you said it well. Keep up the good work.

Lara said...

I LOVE it...the right wing demagogue, charlatan or both part.

Well said!

Jacob Lawrence said...

My open letter in response to this post:

Anonymous said...

Well said Jacob Lawrence!

Thoughts from Lori said...

Thank you for this commentary. People like Glen Beck should not have the 'power' they do. Talk about propaganda. I appreciate a well thought out statement of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jacob Lawrence, I read your response and I have a question. Was your house leveled or did it sustain massive damage, did you have trees uprooted, did you sustain bodily injuries, did you lose all your clothes, furniture, or personal items. If your answer is no then you really have no idea what people who did sustain these losses went through and what kind of help they need. I looked through your previous posts on your blog and did not see any criticism of government help for Katrina and Tuscaloosa victims. So why the holier than thou attitude toward your friends and neighbors. Please answer these questions. And perhaps read the story of the good Samaritan.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for you Mr. Turner as well as the Anon who asked Jacob Lawrence some questions. Where is the Constitutional authority to give tax payer dollars to private citizens? For those who scream about getting government aid, have they forgotten that all FEMA does is bail out insurance companies? And for those who complain about not having insurance, I would question them why they did not? Is it my fault that you did not purchase insurance on your house? No! You, as a private property owner (or renter) are responsible for protecting your property. If you want Federal aid to help rebuild roads and government buildings, remember even those buildings have insurance and roads can be taken care of at the state level without asking for Federal dollars. I agree with Glenn Beck on this one. If you want real solutions, the answer is never in a government entity, it will always come from the private sector. I know that the relief effort is going to be the greatest from citizens and neighbors helping each other, from local charities and churches, not from Washington.

Anonymous said...

Hey newwebcourant, I am the anon from yesterday you asked to respond. Again I notice from your website that you do not even live in Joplin, you had no damage, you had no bodily injury, you lost no loved ones or property in the storm, but you feel the need to look down your nose at those of us who lost everything. Until you have walked a mile in our shoes please keep you comments to yourself about government aid to our city. You have no idea the destruction and the costs of rebuilding. We do not need neighbors like you. Stay in your safe clean city with your I am better than you attitude. I also notice that again you did not write anything about aid to any other city receiving government aid from any other natural disaster. Why kick us like a can down the street.

Jacob Lawrence said...

Thank you both for your thoughts.

Anon, maybe I haven't been clear enough in explaining my opinion. My oposition of government funding for storm clean up and recovery is not limited to the Joplin storms. It applies to all natural disasters.

In addition, I want the city and residents of Joplin to receive the best supplies and donations to lead to a quick recovery. In my opinion, the best way to help those in need does not come from a reliance on the government. The best aid comes from the free individuals and businesses who are willing to lend a hand. Once again, this belief is based on the core principle that businesses aren't evil, but are being hindered by government intervention.

Anonymous said...

Why do you hide behind Anon? I use my blogs name, but if you visit my blog, as you did you will know that my name is Jonathan and I live in Nixa. I don't hide. Also I never claimed to be from Joplin, I've only been there once or twice for my old job.

You're argument is childish "you don't live here you don't know". I do not have to have lived through the destruction to know the appropriate role of government, and it is not to provide charity. Charity come from private organizations and citizens.

Also Anon, you have yet to answer any of my questions to you. Mr. Turner has also ignored my questions. What about the fact that these government buildings, and private buildings had insurance and the FEMA is only bailing out these insurance companies from providing the duty they are supposed to provide. And as I stated above, the roads can be taken care of on the state level and there is no need for the Federal government.

Why is there such a love for the Federal government? Do they do such a great job in any other area? Why your hatred for private charities like Red Cross and Convoy of Hope? Why the bitterness towards all the citizens who were there long before the government ever was, and will be there long after the government leaves.

I agree with Jacob's comment and post and I would appreciate a more intelligent response next time Anon, as well as something from Mr. Turner.

Anonymous said...

To Jacob Lawrence and Newwebcourant, There is no hatred of the Red Cross and the Convoy of Hope, I do not know where that is coming from. Unless it is to make an outlandish comment because you feel insecure in your arguments. I will say that Samaritans Purse, America-Corp and other groups have been a god send to Joplin. But even with all the Charitable help and the donations from around the country the Joplin clean up would not be possible without the State and Federal government. My villiage of Duquesne would be bankrupt if not for the 90/10 response of the Government. And as far as FEMA goes. They did offer to make me a low interest loan not a grant or gift to help make up the difference of what my insurance paid and the amount needed to rebuild my house. I am not sure how that bails out the insurance companies. Perhaps you Newwebcurant can enlighten me a poor hick from Joplin. I still think both of you should in this instance keep your i do not need any help so why should you get some help ideas to your self. I am wondering what kind of destruction you have lived through that compares to the tornado that we went through. Why don't you get off your rear and drive to Joplin and look first hand at what we are facing. Perhaps then there will be some compassion in your heart and you won't mind a couple of your tax dollars going to help the residents of Joplin and Duquesne.

Anonymous said...

Your ignorance astounds me Anon, again why do you hide behind the mystery? I am not scared of anything, my argument is sound unlike yours. You won't answer me on anything. The truth is you have insurance on your home for a reason, for such an instance as this. You are not entitled to my tax dollars no matter how bad the damage is. Charity can pick up where insurance left off, and the government can stay out of the process. I say you have a hatred because you would prefer forcing everyone to help by using federal money instead of only those who wish to help. I am helping in all the ways I am able to right now, as I know many people are. You would rather get Washington involved than take the support offered. I have a question, and you probably won't answer though, are you entitled to any help at all?

Anonymous said...

Not I nor do I know of anyone who feels entitled to any help from any one or the government. I and friends of mine have been more than humbled to accept help from charities, and from the government. Sure the charities and the resident of Joplin and Duquesne could clean up the debris removal and rebuild our cities with no help from the government but it would take years longer to do that. The costs are already overwhelming all the charities. So I tell you what Newwebcoutant keep your narrow minded view on the constitution in Nixa. If your world came crashing down I hope the government and the charities are there to help you and your friends and family. I would be happy to see my tax dollars used to help you and anyone else during a time of crisis.

Anonymous said...

So Anon, we suspend the Constitutional authority during times of crisis? We allow for unlawful usage of tax dollars, and bail out insurance companies and eliminate the need for charities? We do all this because of a life shattering tornado? Forgive my frankness, but the reality is I did not live through such a horrific disaster, and I do not know what it is like, but if I were in your shoes, I know for a fact I wouldn't be complaining for more government aid, or any aid at all. It is not my right to rob from the nation to pay for my situation. You are emotional because you are in the heart of the destruction, but the truth is you are blinded by your emotions. You do not see that the government has no place in helping out. There are more than enough volunteers and donations. I heard on the news that they were having an overflow of help, almost too much to organize in a useful way.

Now look at it this way, if I am others give money and clothes and our time, to help Joplin and then the government comes along and forces the entire nation to help out by using tax dollars, what happens to those of us who are being cheerful givers? If FEMA is going to take care of everything, why should anyone give at all? You argue that it is the other way around, and that FEMA is doing what charity cannot, yet why can't charity do it all? In previous generations and times had this happened in Joplin it would have all been on donations and volunteers to clean up, with hardly any government aid if any at all.

We have become so dependent on the government for everything that when something like this happens we lose sight of the appropriate role of government. I am ashamed of Billy Long and Roy Blunt for pretending to uphold the Constitution while asking for more government aid.

Also, Anon if that is your real name!, I think the truth is you realize there is no legitimate argument for getting aid and that it is wrong to steal from the tax payers and force charity upon the American people. My views of the Constitution are not narrow they are right, and that can be hard to see during a time of crisis. But it is in these hard times that we must maintain constant vigilance against the attacks on the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Hey Newwebcurant. You do not know me or anything about me. you have no right to say the things you said about me or my family and friends. Where the heck do you get off psycho-analzing me. You sir, have no idea about what we have gone through and what is still to be gone through. You did not lose a home and more than a dozen friends. You have not set at 20th and Iowa and been able to see the Water Tower behind Rangeline because there is nothing left standing to block your view. You sit in your nice home with utilities and air conditioning and spew your hatred about anyone who has it worse than you. And how the Government should not help these wretched people. And then expect me to agree with you. When you sit in church tomorrow and listen to your minister talk about loving your neighbor and helping those less fortunate I hope you listen well. You do need a lesson about the life and works of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ. when he gets to the part about these three (depending on your version of the Bible) Faith, Hope and Charity, and the greatest of these is Charity. I hope you pay attention. As I said before you have a very narrow interpretation of the Constitution and not many agree with you. You are spewing your neo-con right wing blather to the wrong person. But as my departed father used to day opinions are like *ssh*oles everyone has one. you sir by your comments not only have one but you are one. I will not give you the satisfaction of responding to your posts any more. I pray people like you do not ever take control of our government.

Corey said...

Newwebcourant, it has become clear to me that you are not a realistic individual. I've read over your blog and YOU are the one politicizing the tornado, just like Glenn Beck, you are all about making an argument against big government.

What disturbs me is that you are using Joplin to spout your ignorance. The fact of the matter is YES, we have received so much generosity through donations and volunteers - but the degree of devastation is so large that Joplin needs federal assistance if our community is to rebuild.

I am not sure why a fellow Missourian has such contempt for his fellow people, or why he accuses us of "stealing" from the taxpayers and going against the Constitution.

I have always been for limited government, but I sincerely believe in times of disaster that the nation has to help mend its wounds.

If you can argue for tax money to go toward anything at all, shouldn't the top priority be helping Americans rebuild their lives? How can you expect them to be a consumer or taxpayer if they are left to fend for themselves? Or should we continue to spend money on wars that only further hurt our international image?

I am curious how someone like you feels about say, the situation in Haiti with the horrible earthquake there. America came to the aid of those people in a massive way and I am so glad that we did.

None of us sat around and "waited" for the government to help, but we sure as hell were thankful when FEMA made a swift response. Just like we were thankful when Obama came to visit and inspire us. You can call that an emotional political move, but it gave us hope to know that the country and our leader were behind us.

And finally, the way you mock someone for remaining anonymous on the internet also makes you stink of ignorant fascism. Which is also one of the factors that has drawn me to the conclusion that you are an idiot, and a hateful one at that.

If a tornado ever strikes Nixa, you can bet I would be heading that way to help. I wonder then how you would feel about FEMA helping your community.

Anonymous said...

I am a business owner. I create a job when I have determined that the workload and sales dictate the need for another person or persons to join the team. Every other business operates in the same manner. The idea that a company is greedy and could create jobs but doesn't due to greed is ridiculous. Jobs aren't created for the benefit of a community or group of people, jobs are created in response to a need due to growth in a business. If businesses continue to get penalized for increased profits, there is no incentive for the business owner to promote growth within his or her business, thus resulting in no additional jobs. I purposely try to limit the growth of my business because I do not want to get penalized with higher taxes, increased government paperwork, and additional legal issues, Obama healthcare and all of the other unforeseen penalties about to be thrust upon us.

Anonymous said...

I, like you, am from Joplin. I'm from the north side of town, so I didn't loss much. However, I CAN tell you Glenn Beck is absolutely right. We don't need the government's help. All it does is demoralize the capital system (if it hasn't been screwed up enough). People across the nation are reaching out and helping. This is, however, NOT the government's job.